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Great-martyr Parasceva

On November 10th (October 28th, old style) the Church commemorates the great-martyr Parasceva.

Saint Parasceva was the daughter of a pious couple who lived in the city of Iconium during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. She was given the name of Parasceva because she was born on a Friday (parasceva in Greek means Friday).

Her parents reared her in the holy faith, piety and a strict obedience to the Lords commandments. Becoming orphaned early, Parasceva inherited great wealth from her parents; however, brought up to love God and her neighbors, she did not spend this wealth on herself, but rather used it for charity towards the needy and the homeless. Becoming engaged in spreading Christianity among her compatriots and doing good deeds, Parasceva decided never to marry, but to give herself over entirely to serving God and her fellow-citizens.

Great-martyr Parasceva.

At that time Emperor Diocletian initiated a cruel persecution of Christians. Denounced by envious pagans, Parasceva was thrown into prison and later brought before the tribunal of an iniquitous commander, who had arrived in the city to persecute Christians. When the saint firmly averred herself to be a Christian, the angry commander ordered her to be subjected to severe beating and torture, and then once more thrown into prison, all wounded and barely breathing, and not expected to live through the night. However, great was the commanders surprise when on the following day she was found to be completely well: her face shone with divine light and beauty, and on her body there was not even a single trace of yesterdays wounds and torture! An angel had appeared to her in prison during the night and had healed her. The commander, however, ascribed her healing to the idols and ordered her to go the their temple and bow before them in gratitude. Saint Parasceva, accompanied by the high priests and a multitude of people, did go to the temple, but upon entering it, by the power of her prayer she crushed all the idols there. Then the people ran out of the temple, crying: Great is the Christian God!

The wrathful commander, ascribing Parascevas miracle to the power of magic, ordered her to be hung and burned. However, by the saints prayers the fire did not harm her, but an angel suddenly appeared and fanned the flames, as a result of which a great number of pagans died. The multitude of people, seeing such a miracle, cried out once again: Great is the Christian God! - and many of them came to believe in Christ. Then the persecutor, fearing the agitation of the populace, ordered Saint Parasceva to be beheaded. The holy martyrs body was buried with great honor by her Christian fellow-citizens, and from her tomb there issued many miracles of healing the sick.

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